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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: January ::
Re: Johnson's Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0157  Wednesday, 24 January 2001

[1]     From:   Graham Bradshaw <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 24 Jan 2001 01:08:09 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Pat Dolan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Jan 2001 13:31:26 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Jan 2001 19:26:38 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare

[4]     From:   Steve Schroer <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 24 Jan 2001 00:42:41 -0600
        Subj:   SHK 12.0132 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare

[5]     From:   Simon Malloch <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 24 Jan 2001 19:42:17 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare

[6]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 24 Jan 2001 07:49:21 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Bradshaw <
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Date:           Wednesday, 24 Jan 2001 01:08:09 +0900
Subject: 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare

I'm mildly intrigued by Professor Hawkes's final sentence: "Johnson's
criticism is probably more valuable for what it tells us about the 18th
century than for anything it has to say about an entity called
'Shakespeare'.

Not that this view is unfamiliar, or arresting: its diagnostic
confidence is Leavisian, and its cultural confidence
(evolution=progress) is, well, Johnsonian.

Still, what is in question is the assumptive basis for either kind of
confidence, or for the seemingly judicious but obscure (refined? bogus?)
distinctions implied by that phrase "probably more": just what is being
weighed against what? And what are these other "entities", called "the
18th century" and "us"?

Doubtless, my doubts would vanish if only Professor Hawkes undertook to
explain how and why his final sentence would be less true of (say)
Leavis's criticism, or Greenblatt's, or indeed his own. But I think he
won't do that, because I'm sure he can't do that.

Wait and see. But don't hold your breath.

Graham Bradshaw

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Jan 2001 13:31:26 -0600
Subject: 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare

>Johnson's criticism is probably more valuable for what it tells
>us about the 18th century than for anything it has to say about an
>entity called 'Shakespeare'.

Exactly. And Johnson's continued currency is, as is Shakespeare's, an
index to our century/centuries, millenium/millenia.

Cheers,
Patrick

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Jan 2001 19:26:38 -0800
Subject: 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0141 Re: Johnson's Shakespeare

Pat Dolan writes:

>I thought that was Prof. Hawkes's point. Whatever "moral purpose"
>Shakespeare may or may not have had has certainly been long occluded by
>the moral purposes--royalist, libertarian, Victorian, post-modern,
>democratic, Catholic, Protestant, aristocratic or emergent
>bourgeois--that we (and our students) have found in/read into his work.

True enough, but Terence didn't write that the graduate students' views
were merely 'different' or 'alternative' but 'better'.  This is itself a
judgement, and sound to my ear slightly moralistic.

>Johnson's criticism is probably more valuable for what it tells
>us about the 18th century than for anything it has to say about an
>entity called 'Shakespeare'.

By a corollary, your work is more valuable for what it tells us about
post-Thatcherite Britain than anything else.  Since I claim fairly
little interest in the subject, am I to take it that I shouldn't read
your work?  Does anything make your own work "better" than Johnson's,
rather than just typical of something else, equally tangential to our
study?

Cheers,
Se

 

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